Title: André Mouraux, Université Catholique de Louvain
Start date: Nov 23 2018
Start time: 11:15 am
End time: 12:15 pm
Location: Max Planck House Lecture Hall

Being an important target for spinothalamic input, the human insula has been scrutinized intensively by pain researchers, and several studies have suggested that it plays a fundamental role in nociception and pain. However, many of the studies performed in humans have described insular responses to thermonociceptive stimuli, without comparing these responses to non-nociceptive stimuli, thus raising questions as to their selectivity. Here, I will present a series of studies using intracerebral EEG recordings from the insula of patients undergoing a presurgical evaluation of intractable epilepsy. I will show that the phase-locked local-field potentials elicited by brief nociceptive stimuli perceived as painful closely resemble the phase-locked local-field potentials elicited by similarly-intense but non-nociceptive and non-painful tactile, auditory and visual stimuli, indicating that these responses most probably reflect insular activity that is largely unspecific for nociception. Second, I will show that, in addition to these phase-locked responses, brief nociceptive stimuli also elicit a transient and early-latency enhancement of gamma-band activities which is not observed following non-nociceptive stimulation, indicating that this non-phase-locked activity could reflect processes that are preferential for thermonociception. Finally, I will present the results of a study in which we used a novel approach, referred to as EEG frequency tagging, to characterize insular activity related to the perception of sustained pain, and in which we identified ongoing insular oscillatory activity that appears to be preferential for thermonociception.

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Host: Renee Hartig